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March 5th, 2012
05:30 PM ET

Opinion: A son on living up to the legend of a civil rights hero

Editor's note: Andrew “Bo” Young III is the Chief Executive Officer of GiveLocally.net. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and two children.

By Bo Young, Special to CNN

(CNN) - As the only son of living civil rights legend Andrew Young, I feel a deep obligation, based on my families’ history of struggle and achievement, to make a difference.

In the years since I have become a man - and as my father’s hectic life slowed down - I have had the privilege of hearing directly from him what it was like to be a close confidante to Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve learned how, together, they faced the incredible task of trying to gain equality for all, even in the face of legal and societal obstacles that threatened to - and did - end King’s legacy of non-violence with his murder.

Behind the scenes: 'Eyewitness to Murder: The King Assassination'

King’s assassination did not stop his work for change. I am extremely lucky that my father, Ambassador Andrew Young, is still living. He is not just my father and now grandfather to my children; he was a direct participant in one of the most historic chapters in our nation’s history.

I confess that even for me, the stories of what my father and those around him faced during the civil rights movement are hard to put into context based on all of the opportunities I - and so many other Americans – have enjoyed as a result of the challenges they overcame.

But I believe that our African-American forefathers would - and do - expect their progeny to seek innovative solutions and apply novel thinking age-old problems like poverty.

We have to build on that legacy; how do we create beyond it? FULL POST

Engage: What is the likelihood that Obama will recapture 'Latino' vote?
March 5th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Engage: What is the likelihood that Obama will recapture 'Latino' vote?

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Opinion: Can the Obama campaign regain votes of Latinos in 2012? –The New York Times

47 years later, activists reenact Selma march: this time with focus on immigration and voter ID legislation –Al.com

"Zumba is to latin dance what popular yoga is to ancient yoga" - National Public Radio

Opinion: Why are men exempt from the consequences of sexual activity? –Time

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Whites have 20 times more money than blacks
A study found that black families are more likely to be in poverty than their white counterparts.
March 5th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

Whites have 20 times more money than blacks

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

The racial wealth gap between black and white Americans might be wider than you think.

Consider this: The median household wealth of blacks was a mere $5,677 in 2009, just 5% of the $113,149 median wealth of whites, according to the Pew Research Center.

That chasm of difference in financial assets is one reason why black families are seven times more prevalent in homeless shelters than white families, according to a new report released by the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness. Wealth serves as a crucial safety net during economic downturns.

Read the full article on CNNMoney

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Filed under: Black in America • Economy • How we live • Race
March 5th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Opinion: Do we define ourselves by 'nature' or 'nurture?'

Editor's Note: Michael Sidney Fosberg is a writer and actor and director who turned his memoir, "Incognito: An American Odyssey of Race and Self Discovery" into a one-man stage play.

By Michael Sidney Fosberg, Special to CNN

(CNN) – In 1991, my biological mother of Armenian descent abruptly filed for divorce from my Swedish stepfather – who after marrying my mother, adopted me when I was four.  I was thirty-two at the time, and although an adult living on the west coast, the event turned my world upside-down.  Up to that point I had lived a fairly common existence, having grown up in a working-class town just north of Chicago.  But the consequence of this seismic shift in my family order was the reconstitution of a dormant desire to search for my biological father.

Armed solely with his name and the city where he had last lived, I set out for the library.  Copying down several near identical listings, I raced home and nervously dialed the first number on the list.  Miraculously, I discovered I had found my biological father in that first phone call.  After several self-conscious moments of awkwardly nervous conversation, he suggested there were "a couple of things I'm sure your mother never told you."  Since she had told me nothing much beyond his name, he could have been referring to almost anything!  First he told me that he loved me and had thought of me often.  Then inserting a wedge of silence as if to heighten the drama, he told me he was African-American.  I thought, “Who/what am I now?!"

At the time of that first call, upon hearing the words "African-American", I remember catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror across my tiny room.  Had I changed suddenly?  Was I now black?   Would I be pulled over for “driving while black”?  If only I had known before I filled out applications for college!  Did this explain the 'fro in high school?  Or the outrageous outfits of platform shoes, multicolored rayon shirts, wide purple pants, topped off with the kinky hair and the wide-brim hat?  Is this why a high school girlfriend's parents questioned my nationality upon first meeting?  Was this the reason for owning the entire James Brown catalogue on vinyl?  Or my obsession with Richard Pryor?  How many other stereotypical traits might I conclude from this race-altering discovery?  What was nature, and what was nurture?

More importantly, why hadn't my mother told me?! FULL POST

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Filed under: Black in America • Ethnicity • Family • Race • Who we are